First, Coleytown Middle School’s Company lost their stage.
Then they lost their lead.
But the show must go on. This weekend, it did.
With great cooperation from Bedford — where Westport’s 2 middle schools now share space, following the closure of CMS last fall due to mold — Coleytown Company was deep in rehearsals for “42nd Street.”
On Tuesday, director Ben Frimmer learned that Andrew Maskoff — the 6th grade lead — had to go on vocal rest. He could not talk or sing until the show.
Frimmer was determined to get him on stage. In the meantime, he needed a fill-in for rehearsals — and the possibility that Andrew could not perform at all.
There were 3 possibilities. Frimmer could recruit his son Jonah — a 7th grader in Weston who has done 3 Equity productions. He could go on himself. Or he could ask a Staples High student to step in.
Frimmer chose the third. He called Staples Players director David Roth, who suggested Max Herman. The senior had just completed a fantastic run in “Curtains.”
Frimmer knew Max well. They’d worked together on 3 CMS shows.
The director called him at 1 p.m. An hour later, Max was at Bedford rehearsing.
He rehearsed all week — including following behind Andrew, who walked him through the blocking.
Andrew went on Friday night. But it was clear that 2 more shows would be too much. Max took the stage Saturday, so Andrew could close out the run on Sunday.
“I have never seen a student make as mature a decision as Andrew,” Frimmer says.
Having survived Saturday night, the cast was excited yesterday to have everyone back on stage.
Suddenly — just 30 minutes before the curtain rose — another supporting lead was struck with a migraine.
Staples freshman Nina Driscoll — another Coleytown Company alum who had served as assistant director — immediately offered to step in.
In just half an hour Frimmer and his assistants ran her through her songs and dances, and highlighted her script. Ten minutes before showtime, she announced she was off book — she knew the script — and was ready to go.
That’s show business.
And that’s why Westport loves Ben Frimmer, Staples Players — and especially Coleytown Company.
(Hat tips: Tami Benanav and Nick Sadler)